You have a great new technology. Your breakthrough idea is ready to disrupt the market and your stakeholders are ready to see the sales roll in. The only problem? How are you going to put together enough piece parts to produce a functioning prototype?
What is a prototype?
A prototype is an early stage product that has been produced in its most basic form. A Prototype encompasses the early, preliminary stages of a product's life cycle and may be defined as a Proof of Concept, Alpha/Beta, or Pilot Build. The purpose of these early stage products are to prove the technology's concept and they do not necessarily need to be designed for a long shelf-life.
Prototype Cost ASSESSMENT
How much will it cost to build the machinery or equipment? To asses this, the Bill of Materials (BoM) should be defined. Each part, piece and sub-assembly needs to have a dollar assessment completed in order to have an understanding of the cost of the Prototype Build.
Companies should try to keep costs down as much as possible during these early stages. While later builds still in the Prototype phase may be more expensive, the first couple should be as cost friendly as possible. Rather than ordering expensive custom made parts, companies should look for more economic friendly options. Off the shelf parts are sufficient enough to roughly cobble your technology together just to prove that your concept actually works.
Who is responsible for manufacturing parts for the prototype? Does the build consist of any custom made parts? Are there any parts that don't need to be precision made and can be purchased off the shelf instead? These questions can significantly increase or decrease processes throughout the prototype phase which is why a cost assessment is done beforehand.
Which high-cost process are detrimental to the functionality of the product itself, and which can be reduced to lower-cost options? If your concerns are more about the aesthetics of your product's design, you may want to refocus efforts to the core physics of the technology and verify that it actually works the way it was intended. Also, testing to make sure what degree the machinery functions to should also be stressed during this preliminary stage.
Once all the piece parts, sub-assemblies, and custom parts have been ordered, the next step is to figure out how the parts and components will be fitted together. Usually, the assembly is pieced together by a company's R&D team just to prove the concept. Once the product starts to head into Beta, or pilot builds then a Contract Manufacturer may get involved to help perfect the build process for the next stages of development.
From Proof of Concept, to Pilot Builds and everything in between proving your product actually performs the way it was intended is the most important priority for Prototype Builds. Prototype Builds encompass the early stages of a product and once the project moves into the Alpha/Beta builds, the focus steers more towards creating a visually appealing final product.
Here at PEKO, we work with companies at all stages of development. As a Full-Service Contract Manufacturer, our team of engineers are ready to help perfect your design and work on cost-down opportunities once manufacturing begins. Regardless of if a Proof of Concept has been completed, or if the company is beginning a Beta build, we're ready to work to get your product to market. If you are interested in learning more about our Prototype capabilities, request a quote below and we will be in contact with you.